(Don Rauf/ Everyday Health) — Chronic stress can deliver a damaging blow to a person’s health. It can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system, breathing, the liver, digestion, the nervous system, and many other aspects of well-being.
A new study, published Oct. 24 in the journal Neurology, shows that the brain may also suffer when the primary stress hormone, cortisol, rises too high in the body’s system.
“We show that even among young and middle-aged adults at an average age of 48 years, highest cortisol levels in the top 30 percent were associated with smaller total brain volumes, changes in the brain white matter, and poorer performance on some memory and thinking tasks,” says Sudha Seshadri, MD, study author and director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio.
Dr. Seshadri emphasizes that the investigation does not show cortisol causing these effects but finds a strong link between the high hormone levels and harmful results in the brain. (…)